Why Focus on Vocabulary?

Elklan's vision emphasises the importance of supporting every child through effective communication. Building a wide and varied vocabulary is an important stepping stone in helping children to communicate. Research has shown that children who have poor vocabulary, tend to do less well at school (Hart and Risley, 2003). Christmas provides an opportunity for children to learn new words and concepts, furthering their language skills in a festive context.

Festive Games and Activities for Vocabulary Building

  1. Festive treasure hunt

    Create a treasure hunt using Christmas-themed objects. Hide these objects around the house or classroom and let the children find them. Talk about what they have found.

    “It’s an elf!”
    “He’s hanging on the coat hooks.”
    “Shiny tinsel”
    “It was behind the sofa.”

  2. Christmas baking with descriptive language

    Bake some mince pies or gingerbread men and use it as a chance to introduce descriptive words related to textures, tastes, and smells.

  3. Christmas feely box/bag

    Place Christmas objects into a fabric bag or box decorated with Christmas wrapping paper. Take turns to feel one of the objects and describe it to the other person. Can they guess what it is?

  4. Christmas mobile stories

    Take a sequence of 3 photos on your mobile phone. This could be of wrapping a present, decorating the Christmas tree or a special event such as going to see Father Christmas.

    After the event, use the photos to talk about what happened. Use words such as ‘first’, ‘and then’, ‘next’ to describe the sequence.

  5. Decorate a Vocabulary Tree

    Create a Christmas tree on a wall or board. Each new word gets added as a decoration. Include a variety of words such as:

    • naming words: bauble, star, glitter
    • describing words: bright, sparkly, silver
    • action words: shining, glowing

The Gift of Communication

Elklan recognises the crucial role of practitioners and parents in children's language development. By incorporating these fun activities into the Christmas season, you are not only enhancing a child's vocabulary but also building lasting memories. Remember, effective communication creates happier children.

This Christmas, gift the children in your life something more valuable than any toy – the gift of words!

Join the Elklan Community

Interested in more resources and ideas? Elklan offers quality training for practitioners and helpful tips for parents. Be part of a community that believes in the power of good communication and its impact on children's futures.

Reference: Hart, B. & Risley, T.R. (2003) The Early Catastrophe: The 30 million word gap by age 3. American Educator. Spring 2003).